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HAPPY FEET

Shimano MW5 Winter Shoes: Reviewed

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Dave Smith
Date Jan 18, 2018

Cold weather riding is not that hard to prepare for. Wet weather is a bit more challenging. Put the two together and you have a diabolical mix. From about 3º C down to the freezing mark, wet and cold have a multiplicative effect on each other. If you want to ride in wet weather and single digits, everyone knows you need the right jacket. Waterproof shorts didn't used to feel mandatory (mostly because there weren't many good options), but they're standard issue for winter riding around here these days. And I'm here to tell you that even when it's above zero but your feet might get wet, winter riding boots are unsung heroes. You can dabble in waterproof socks (not to mention spend less), but nothing beats a lined, waterproof shoe.

The creeks are running high, puddles are deep, and the saturated dirt will cling to your shoes and soak them. You've ridden for years with wet, cold feet. Let the suffering end.

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Everything I needed to know for this part of the test, I learned in Kindergarten.

The Shimano MW5 is not their top of the line winter shoe - that distinction belongs to the Gore-Tex-lined MW7. Other than the MW5's Dryshield liner, which doesn't come with Gore's name recognition but seems to work equally well, the only significant difference is that the MW7 comes with TORBAL - Shimano's Torsion Balance system which has a stiff midsole and softer forefoot. When it comes to jackets, I value a high-end membrane. In the case of these shoes, my warm, dry feet are proof that Dryshield is good enough.

What the MW5 does have is a fleece-lined insole and boot contained inside a synthetic leather upper (perforated outer layer, sealed underneath), and a robust neoprene ankle gusset that keeps splashes and dirt out of the shoe.  That insole is thicker and a tad bit more comfortable than a standard, shitty insole*. The speedlace system makes them easy to fasten: pull 'em on (great heel cup, nice and secure fit), yank the speed lace, cinch and tuck it in. Close the two ankle flaps over top of each other - velcro holds them in place - and finish by pulling the lace cover across the whole kit & kaboodle.

*Why hasn't someone started selling their shoes with good insoles? Seems like a good way to set yourself apart. Give us a little extra arch support and an anti-microbial finish, and you're set.

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The Shimano MW5 winter boots are easy to put on: yank and fasten the speed lace system...

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...close the ankle flaps one over the other...

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...and then pull the lace cover across and fasten to the hook and loop on the outside of the shoe.

Fit

The Shimano MW5 is a very comfortable riding boot. The heel cup is well-defined and locks in easily, in my usual size 43 they fit perfectly with room for thick waterproof socks (which I haven't needed), and the aforementioned insole provides a warm and comfortable platform. The neoprene ankle capably keeps out the bad, retains heat while providing great articulation, and the two-flap closure allows you to get a good seal and set the snugness according to your preference.

Pedaling & Hiking

On Shimano's stiffness scale, the MW5 (as well as the higher end MW7) is rated at 5, which is the same as the new AM9. For comparison, the stiffest MTB shoe Shimano makes is the S-Phyre XC9 which measures an 11 (full morningwood status), and the ME7 All-Mountain shoe I reviewed last year is rated at 8. I can't say the MW5 feels soft at all, though a serious racer might differ. However for winter riding and training, when you're more likely to be hiking or dismounting to avoid things like downed trees or crossing creeks, the MW5 is terrific for walking, and the rubber sole was reassuring on wet logs as well as rocks. It is also a firm and comfortable platform for pedaling. Put simply, like with the rest of the shoe, it is spot on.

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Add spikes if you like, but they walk comfortably and hike very well over rough terrain. Traction on slippery creekbeds was sure-footed.

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The lace cover keeps the ugly on the outside.

It is refreshing to come across a product that isn't the most expensive in its category, or even the priciest one the manufacturer offers, and realize that it is not only sufficient, but damn near perfect. While I can't comment on the MW5 at temps below -3 C (it just hasn't been cold enough this year), I think that the operable range of these shoes for me is at least -10 on the low end, and having worn them at 10 above with no issue, I can confirm that they breathe well also. If we did stars around here, I'd give five of them to the Shimano MW5.

The MW5 retails for CAD 259 / USD 200 (street price is lower if you hunt around a bit). For comparison's sake, the MW7 w/ Gore-Tex is CAD 320 / USD 250 but also available for less. It will be replaced by a new shoe for 2019. More on that sometime this Spring...

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Between waterproof shorts and warm feet, I was pretty happy sitting on this soaking wet moss-covered log, pretending to look for Scooby snacks.

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Comments

craw
+1 Pete Roggeman
Cr4w  - Jan. 18, 2018, 7:08 a.m.

I bought a pair of these on recommendation from Ken Maude, who I'm pretty sure wears the MW5 year round. Incredible shoes. I had no idea how much I was suffering from wet cold feet until that stopped happening.

Reply

heathen
+1 mike
Heathen  - Jan. 18, 2018, 7:53 a.m.

Does anyone make a flat pedal winter shoe????

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 18, 2018, 8:50 a.m.

https://nsmb.com/articles/own-fr-01-shoe-review/

Not a full-on winter shoe, but one of the liners they come with are lined for warmth. I wore them all of last winter (down to -8 or so) and they were fine. Otherwise, have a look here: https://45nrth.com/products/footwear

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Jan. 18, 2018, 9:06 a.m.

Those OWN shoes are cool, but pricey. 5.10 needs to come up with a real water-proof option with a collar.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 18, 2018, 12:19 p.m.

They are pricey, but I contend that the value proposition is there. One pair of shoes you can use in summer and winter (except when it's truly cold out), and people who regularly ride in wet conditions will benefit greatly from how much faster they dry when you pull the liners out. They've also been put on sale twice in the last 4 months or so.

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Jan. 18, 2018, 3:18 p.m.

Do they last 3 times as long?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 18, 2018, 3:35 p.m.

If that's meant to imply that they cost three times as much, you'd be better off just clicking through here, where you'll realize they now cost exactly the same amount as the Five Ten Freerider EPS. I'll let you choose which one you think represents better value: https://www.onlywhatsnecessary.com/store-footwear/

iamalexm
0
Alex Morken  - Jan. 18, 2018, 12:28 p.m.

Yes - 5.10 does and they work great imo.  The freerider EPS - it used to be available in high-top, but looks to be only low-top now. Bummer - the high-tops are great shoes! Looks like you can still find them around, tho.

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Jan. 18, 2018, 3:16 p.m.

Those are ok, but not actually water-proof.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 18, 2018, 3:34 p.m.

Correct, they're just lined. Not a winter shoe compared to the others in terms of protection from water, and no ankle liner of any sort. But, Alex, looks like the high cut version is, indeed, still available: http://fiveten.com/product/freerider-eps-high/

Reply

iamalexm
0
Alex Morken  - Jan. 19, 2018, 2:19 p.m.

They are not "truly" waterproof - but honestly, they seem like they are as waterproof as any other shoe I have used and I own the mw5's, too.

edit: looks like they only have 1 color left in stock. They had it in 3 colors. Wondering if they still produce them or if they are just selling what they have left in stock.

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Jan. 22, 2018, 1:32 p.m.

I've got a pair of the 5.10s, and they keep my feet pretty comfortable, but they take forever to dry out after a really wet ride.

DemonMike
0
mike  - Jan. 18, 2018, 7:15 p.m.

How stiff is the sole ? and ditto on a flat pedal version .

I love the AM7,s but after my last ride I was wishing for a more waterproof shoe.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 19, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

Mike, in the article I address sole stiffness, with particular reference to the AM and ME series.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Jan. 19, 2018, 5:26 p.m.

Thanks reread the article ,

I also dug around on the Shimano site , my shoe is roughly a 3 . So a 5 is gonna be a bit stiffer . Also unlike the old Shimano it looks like the cleat area on the sole is already removed . I ride strictly flats and did reach out to the Own shoe guys , they are out of stock for my size at this time .

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 21, 2018, 7:55 p.m.

They'll be stiffer, but the MW5 are definitely not stiff. Anyway, sounds like they won't work for you, unfortunately.

Reply

Vincent66
0
Vincent66  - Jan. 20, 2018, 2:50 p.m.

I rode this morning on Seymour ; Cork, pingu, pangor, ...

My shoes are shimano MW7 : my feet were soaked after 10minutes of DH ... I'm very disappointed.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Jan. 21, 2018, 7:54 p.m.

Hmm. Were you wearing tall socks? Is it possible your socks got wet and wicked water into your shoes? It's hard to do anything about that problem, except wear pants to direct the water off your legs and onto the shoes. Sometimes, if it's raining really hard or you ride through puddles and the splashes come up your legs, there's nothing you can do. Otherwise, assuming you had them done up nice and tight, maybe there's a defect?

On Friday I crossed a creek in some Northwave winter shoes (review upcoming). The water came all the way up the cuff, and didn't get in. I was surprised and impressed.

Reply

Vincent66
0
Vincent66  - Jan. 22, 2018, noon

Yes, I was wearing mid-calf socks and the water definitely came in this way.

When I wear those shoes on my job-commute with rain pants, my feet remain dry.

They could have been a bit tighter, for sure, but it wasn't raining really hard.

Anyway, I bought them, so I'll give them another chance (it should rain again soon ...) and try different options.

Reply

Da-Peach
0
Chris Petsche  - Jan. 23, 2018, 10:09 a.m.

I have them too and was a bit let down by how much water was sloshing around inside the shoes on an extremely wet ride.  Seems gaiters or something of the like would be needed to keep water from coming in from on top.

The sizing seems a bit different from their summer shoes too.  There's room for a really thick pair of socks, which I guess makes sense.  Just something to be aware of.

Now that I've figured out how to wear mine properly, I'm pretty satisfied.

Reply

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